PART 15 (finale)

HALLOWEEN 3 YEARS AGO

 

Don’t worry, dad said, you worry too much.

But what about—?

Don’t worry!

They said no going outside, no exposing yourself to—

To what, air? Don’t expose myself to air and breathe like a human being just because I’m dying?

You’re not dying wasn’t the right thing to say, because it was a lie, and so instead she said, don’t worry, dad, you’ll live forever.

Nah, I won’t. None of us do. And when you’re my age you realize that’s a blessing. You stop being afraid; you start being ready.

She’s never recalled the finer details of the crash, but she does the red memory of the vivid blood pressure in her whirling head and how it had built some behind her eyes until the burden made them haul open fanlike and woozy and all she desired inwardly was to sleep. She could’ve persisted there suspended upside down by the faithful seatbelt with her unwieldy arms, slackly splayed out curve of the wrists first and make this her grave. The chapped texture of the roof of the inside of the trickling car could’ve been the last thing she ever felt. She’d even run her knuckles on it some as if it might lull her, wondering if she’d ever done this very same thing while drifting safely in the rhythmic amnion of the womb.

Instead, stringed along by an otherworldly puppeteer and with the pathetic soundtrack of her own chopped and labored breathing, she’d released herself from the seat belt first and fell hard onto her shoulder, then turned to the empty passenger seat and no longer felt anything but the desire to find her father.

The rubble of him was a hurled scarecrow on its back surrounded by a swelling, dark pool not far ejected from the vehicle when it flipped in the collision. The white-dusted fragments of glass outlined him like illuminated chalk, like an angel dissolved having fallen to earth and becoming human. When she trudged to him with a half-busted knee and a warm fluid flowing down her cupids bow, she flickered over him silently for a moment thinking he was gone already, but he’d said, go, go help them, they got a baby. Only then could she hear the primeval vocalizations of one too young and too trapped to help themselves.

Time didn’t go by too fast, or too slow, time simply wasn’t. There wasn’t any time at all. She’d saved the mother and the baby and they lied together weeping and calling the police. She’d come back just in time to see her father smile and leave the world.

The eyes are what she saw first, before the height of the thing. They were pale yellow underneath the murky light of the round moon, which darkened its grey fur into a blue, dismal pelt as it prowled quietly to her from the dense trees like a fence on the side of the highway. The shoulders were broad and half-clothed with a red plaid shirt ripped apart and glistening, the opened maw was wet and dripped onto the concrete as it walked to her on its hind legs, the teeth long and yellowed. It was taller than any dog she’d ever seen, well over six feet, and it was so slow, unblinking.

The full moon obscured by a passing cloud was blotted out when it pounced on her. She can remember how it smelt; seeped fur, clotted canine musk herbed with dried blood, congealed foamy congregations of saliva at the corners of its mouth. She can remember the piercing of its claws burrowing into her shoulder blades, but she remembers nothing else. Not screaming. Not pain. Not anything until she woke up in the hospital.

The morning had rose in that strange way that morning seems to lift up, at least that’s how she’s always seen it. It comes up from the grass as if it crawled out of outer space in a vapor.

I’m sorry about your father. I’m your new partner, he’d said, poking his narrow chin and inspecting the room for ears he might’ve not seen listening, tell me what you know about werewolves.

THE END (for now)

PART 14

AWAKE

 

In the downslope of evening dusk, which leaves a cut of blood on the horizon like a knife wound, she starts awake from the nauseous scene in her mind and the clangor of the nightmare weapon. The floor that her contused cheekbone lies on is scented with kitchen rag mildew and dried piss. Her heart still limps to right itself, but she’s awake now lying on a warm floor in a pool of her saliva and coagulated blood. Fully awake and here, where ever here is, with it’s sheer, colorless curtains stained from being used as napkins swaying with a tender, curious breeze slithering in from outside, shapeless dark and grainy figures as furniture that her eyes aren’t ready to discern in their widespread shock of regaining sight so suddenly.

I have a sickness, a man’s voice says with sediment in the throat and whining in the tone, the fortune teller said that I’d marry somebody named Lisa or Elizabeth, but she was wrong, she was fucking wrong and it was supposed to be Miranda, and Miranda got married.

The detective remains unmoved, quiet; breathes in as silently as she can, deep as she can without being overt in an attempt to steady the pulse that’s hammering in her left ear.

There’s no light on, but she can see the broad-shouldered figure in a trucker hat leaning over his knees, face buried in his hands as he bitterly weeps. There’s another figure sitting on the couch and when the moon, full and white, becomes the only light inside the small trailer, she recognizes him. I’m a good Christian man, the words repeat, and repeat, and repeat, ricocheting inside of her mind. It’s that old man, but who’s the one sobbing?

Boy, the daddy says, you better know where to put her body. She’s a cop. None of that fruity ritual shit from the bible like that other whore.

I know, I know daddy, the other one says, I know just where…

Can’t be stupid like Miranda, boy! The old man speaks rigidly, strictly yet underneath that, fearfully, spitting the muddy pool of his grizzly wintergreen dip into the carapace of an empty coca-cola can with a loathsome squirting sound.

It doesn’t have to be like this. You can let me go, the detective says, you can untie me, you still have time.

She’s lyin’, don’t listen to ‘er, daddy says to his son. He slaps his kneecap hard as he can to let out his frustrations, stamps his foot to let it out, too, as if it had traveled down the shin and got stuck in the tendons. She’s a DAMN liar! You let her go and she’ll run ‘n tell all her little piggy friends who you is and what you done! She’ll throw that ass of yours in a cage and they’ll strap you straight into an electric chair!

There was a distant howling outside and the detective shifted from the bruised bone of her hip onto her back and stared outside at the impending dark. She suddenly felt calm.

You still have a chance, I’m not lying, the detective says.

The man sitting down ejects himself so quickly out of the creaky folding chair he’d been pathetically nesting in and sobbing that it flies back, teeters and scrapes its heels before it collapses stiffly onto its side like a bloated deer on the shoulder of a highway. He throws the obstacles between he and the detective out of the way with a growl as he rushes to her, repeating the phrase, shut up shut up shut up through gnashed teeth, stomping toward her theatrically like a child.

You’re a damn liar! He shouts a mere inch from her tight-lipped face when he harshly genuflects beside her. She can smell his filthy hair and coors light, conceals a gag and scoffs, shuts her eyes. The drizzle of his rage-spit from shouting freckles her eyelids.

You’re right, I am. You’re all outta chances, the detective says, opening her eyes. And the man stares down with his mouth dumbly agape searching for the human quality of her formerly big brown eyes in the dark, but he finds nothing gawking back but a preternatural yellow and though the trailer was the stuffiest, most humid nook shoved into the back of the mouth of these woods he felt a chill like fingers hiking up his spine when he gazed into them, when the wolf fur began to sprout and the unexpected strength ripped through the plastic ties they’d bound her with.

It all happened very fast.

 

To be concluded tomorrow…

PART 13

She asks in that rehearsed tranquility; that silver voice, that comely voice in control of the drumming song of the hummingbird heart, because she’s the immovable rock. She can still be the hero.

What’re they gunna do to him?

And with the wet-blanket heat and the soft strangle of anxiety that makes the swollen edge of her nose trickle with an oval of sweat and imperceptibly tame tears tumbling down one-by-one from her smoke-burnt eyes that she can blame on the crushing stench that’s becoming insistently more putrid; she is that immovable rock. She is that silver voice in the simmering, nervous night.

They already hurt him, so now they eat him so no one can find him, the little girl says, But no hands and feet, that’s bad luck, you don’t eat that.

Can you untie me?

Mmmm, no, the little girl says in that childish way kids do with moony, large eyes, and she moves back to sit on her haunches and rocks back and forth for an absent comfort; she’s jumpy, but she’d untie her with the right coercing, or at least try to. The night is starless and peerless to all other dark nights and the little ones sunken-eyed stare bleeds out into the rest of it, making her look like a tiny, swaying skull.

The chanting and crying of the other child is loud, but there’s another shimmer of a noise quivering faintly close by. It rustles in cold-blood fully alive on nights like this and it curls, watches from somewhere. The detective says, stay still, there’s a rattler.

A snake? It won’t bite, it’s a toy, wanna see it?

No, don’t touch it. It’s not a toy.

Trust me, I play with it. It was my toy. I think it just came to life now, i’ll find it.

The little skeleton stands with difficulty, must’ve stood too swiftly, because she crashes into a brief lean onto a tree and breathes before darting out, and vanishes into a curvy palisade of shadows and thick-thighed oaks.

You just had to be the hero, the broken corpse of her father says, shaking his head, tsk tsk, from the ground where he lies.

No! Stop! The girl shouts, the detective can can hear dull thudding against thin skin, stop biting me!

The chanting dies for a moment, long enough for howling to raise itself up between the distance of it, and of her, and she looks back again even if it hurts her head where the shock had once shunned the reality of the wound, which began painfully to throb along with the gallop of her pulse.

A nude man walks down an aisle strewn with miniature bones, could be avian, limping familiarly from the right hip, wearing a paper mask similar to Baby Mikey’s, but his is a bigger dog–a wolf, with a scarlet streamer for a tongue that affords it either more primitive an appearance or sinister–yet it has antlers reaching up. The worshippers swoon to the ground and bury their faces and fingers into the hot earth, smearing their loose hair with it, bowing to him. He raises his hands up to the sky, says something that sounds more like a gurgle, but she can hear the words, lord, hear our prayers.

That’s when the gunshot strikes him in the chest.

TO BE CONTINUED…

PART 12

RIGHT NOW

Don’t worry, dad said, you worry too much.

But what about—?

Don’t worry!

They said no going outside, no exposing yourself to—

To what, air? Don’t expose myself to air and breathe like a human being just because I’m dying?

You’re not dying wasn’t the right thing to say, because it was a lie, and so instead she said, don’t worry, dad, you’ll live forever.

Nah, I won’t. None of us do. And when you’re my age you realize that’s a blessing. You stop being afraid; you start being ready. You know what’s funny, though? I thought you’d save me first. I didn’t think you’d just let me die… my only daughter left her daddy to die to go save someone else’s kid.

But you told me to.

It doesn’t matter what I told you; it matters what you did. You came back too late, remember? Had to watch your own father die, just to let someone live, you had to be the hero. You didn’t even know them, they didn’t even say, thank you. And then what happened to you? Huh? What’d you become?

She’s been in the dream too long; dad’s face is just as realistic as the day he died in her arms, and she’s there again holding him while he smiles and asks again, what’d you become? The way she can tell she’s been in the dream too long is that it’s taken a turn for the worse. He never said those things. He was just dead when she came back. Everything starts out as a dream and ends up as a nightmare. The troubled mind can’t dream with itself for too long without an unwanted injection of horror.

The eyes are what she saw first, before the height of the thing. They were pale yellow underneath the murky light of the round moon, which darkened its grey fur into a blue, dismal pelt as it prowled quietly to her. The shoulders were broad and half-clothed with a red plaid shirt ripped apart and glistening, the opened maw was wet and dripped onto the concrete as it walked to her on its hind legs, the teeth long and yellowed. It was taller than any dog she’d ever seen, well over six feet, and it was so slow, unblinking.

I don’t have a good feeling about this, she says to her partner, who’s in the backseat of her empty, rotten car. She’s safe here in the decrepit car that’s covered in moss, with puddles on the floor and cottonmouths slithering inside the fluid pooling up around her ankles. She’s watching herself. Watching that thing coming up to her and her dead daddy.

Then why are you going? He asks.

Because I don’t have a good feeling about it.

She wakes up bound behind a tree and breathes as if it’s her first breath; and somewhere deep within her the desire to weep is rattling, but she cages the urge with trying to move, trying to break free. She can’t remember how she got here, because she never left the woods and only remembers the old man’s face, just a nip of it, after he’d hit her with something. She remembers him limping away on that cane of his, him muttering, and her thinking out loud to herself before she lost consciousness, I’m supposed to come back later, when I’m ready.

You’re going to die, but I die first, the little girl says to her with a tiny, shaky voice. She’s not tied up because fear keeps her tethered to this place. There’s a fire burning from behind them and an eerie chanting in a strange language she’s never heard, and a smoky, meaty scent drifting over to them both. She hears the girls stomach growl. The little ones always die first, the girl says, then the older ones. I’m not the littlest one yet, so I’m in the middle.

The detective can almost recognize her as a missing kid from not too long ago, but with the malnourished face, dirty, knobby knees and protruding ribs of the slight body, the shadows of constellations of bruising, the pieces of her scalp missing, it’s difficult to get a positive I.D.

You won’t die, the detective says, you’ll live forever, and the detective cranes her neck as much as she can manage to see what’s happening behind her.

Baby Mikey is being lead up to an altar decorated in a folk piece acting out the Last Judgement. The eyes of Jesus are black beads that flash anytime the flames palpitate, with crayon-blue tears dolloped thickly down a pale paper face. The robes are a collage of greasy newspaper and old painted sheets, the arms are wooden, the fingers broken tree limbs. The angels encircling him from thrifted tree toppers. His halo is tinsel wrapped around rope, and Baby Mikey is naked and crying, trying to take a crudely painted, paper mache mask of a dog off of his face, but he’s struggling, he can’t do it.

Miranda’s mother is leading him toward the altar, nude except for mud and a swamp-crown, her pubic hair decorated with leaves. She’s shushing him, smiling, as the others chant in rows so that she can walk up to the fire and the flimsy image of Christ.

TO BE CONTINUED …

PART 11

Before she died

You’re trickin me, it’s a joke, right? Miranda asked, and she’d laughed briefly and sheepishly like a live stage actor pretending to comprehend a scene she’s never been in before. Her mascara and dark eyeliner had crumbled because of the showers outside and had given her light eyes a flaked and hollow look, making her seem lit from within like a jack-o-lantern when she grinned.

No, I ain’t kiddin’, you’re stayin’ here, they’re out there and they’ll get you, Gabe’s mother had told her, igniting another cigarette with the bitter end of the one she’d just finished. You can’t go home tonight, not through there, she’d added, And Gabe and all the boys is too drunk to drive you home.

I can’t stay here, Miranda had said pathetically in a voice with faint tremor, Mikey’s alone, I have to go back. He can’t be alone anymore! What if he wakes up and I’m not there? I timed it this way. He’ll feel so alone if he wakes up without me. He’ll cry. He’ll look for me and I won’t be there.

For an older, stouter woman, Gabe’s mother was as fast as a high school sprinter. She was never wont to shoving young girls she liked into bedrooms and locking the doors behind them, but she had to protect her. She’d pushed Miranda into the mouth of Gabe’s room, watched her get swallowed up into the dark throat of it, and heard her fall back onto the rickety dresser. She’d heard a few neglected bottles that had once lived there on top vaguely teeter, plummet, and bounce off of the thinly carpeted floor and thankfully not bust open. Then she’d heard Miranda rise up and go for the door before she locked it from the outside and started sticking a stained foldable chair underneath the knob just to make sure she couldn’t get out. Miranda was hysterical, begging, sobbing… and then everything went quiet on the other side of the door.

Trust me, Gabe’s mother said in the seam with a sigh of relief, you can’t leave. We’ll do the wedding ritual another time. Mikey will be fine. Please, just stay here. Wait till the suns up.

The sound of it was a wire in the blood; a noise that sent an electric, chemical signal to the leftover reptilian part of the mammal brain.  The howling was a call and the call sounded through the thick bodies of the trees; the sound reached in, and somewhere in the gut it dazzled, mesmerizing, wailing, tumbling through branches, digging up dirt, rustling the leaves.

Miranda? Gabe’s mother had asked.

But when she’d opened the door the window had been opened. And Miranda was gone.

 

to be continued … 

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my scent, not his scent,
but by some changeling blood
could spread the same smile
on halloween. on christmas
waking up in blankets
it didn’t fall asleep in.

there’s bricks that hold down a red
bottlebrush flower from 1994.
remember,
she called you honeysuckle,
and thought rats had no bones.

i remember
my small hand in his
big glove, rough inside
like sand paper. old yellow leather in
a white truck stuck together
with luck, cigarettes in a soft pack,
right in your shirt pocket, next to the
heart in my hand, in your glove
in a warm cup of coffee,

i could live on that smell and skip
meals for the month of
october.
just the memory of it,
and the dregs of
california pain.

i could armor myself in you.
live in your flannel and die.
carve a valknut in my chest
over the hole where no light
can get in.

but you’re the one with
the valknut – you’re
the one who earned it.

through a violent death,
but you’d want the cross
instead.

“these violent delights
have violent ends.”

scorpio.

scorpio.

scorpio.

 

samantha lucero 2017 ©

‘There are doors’ a short story by Christine Delano & Samantha Lucero

A recent story one of my BFF’s and I wrote together. A publisher for an anthology passed on it (and my other ghost story, too. I finally found the email. which means I’ll be posting that one up eventually, too.) it’s written in two perspectives, Adelina and Vera, two single moms (and characters we used to role-play on journals in a World of Darkness setting, I TOLD YOU I WAS A NERD.) both first person. It’s about 15k words, so it’s kind of a commitment. It was partly inspired by a weird place in the hills of NJ.

And yes, it’s horror. Do you even know me?

Two single moms leave their lives behind
and start over, but … 

Continue reading “‘There are doors’ a short story by Christine Delano & Samantha Lucero”

i somehow forgot to mention.

some time ago, i submitted a horror story for an upcoming halloween anthology taking place in salem. the story’s called ‘let’s kill her‘ and they just accepted it to be published in the book. more details to come. i’ve put an excerpt of it here before, i just don’t want to dig for it. no need to read any further if you’ve already read it before, it’s the same excerpt. also, please tell me to commit to sleeping more.

i am still working on a novel. 30k isn’t a bad word count for how little time i have to truly get into the mood and let go, and just write and write. it’s a slow process. i am waiting to get my rejections from the reviews i’ve submitted to before publishing my poetry book. it’s nothing that anybody hasn’t read on my blog or on sudden denouement  already, perhaps only a few unpublished pieces.

and isn’t it the biggest curse of the creative to find ourselves in stagnate ruts and have no idea how we got there? the stars align for me sometimes, or maybe it’s all ritualistic for me to feel driven. although, i am interrupted often by screaming, or MAMA, MAMA, which doesn’t help my already delicate concentration♡ so much to do, so little time. lately, it seems anything can put me in quicksand. the reason i was so disappointed in the movie a quiet passion, was not only because it royally sucked (my cousin rachel was much, MUCH better, yet strangely has a lower rating? i have a thing for period pieces.)  but because i can relate to the isolation that emily dickinson gladly, and at times perhaps not so gladly, placed herself in. it became a bad habit of mine to isolate myself when i was staying in florida. i’ve moved away from that awful place of course since february, having too much of my genes be comforted by the cold to ever stay where i was so lost in the constant heat. even new orleans isn’t as bad. i could sip absinthe happily in the pirates alley all day and get beignets when my stomach went sour, but i couldn’t wait to breathe somewhere that wasn’t florida. the habit has carried over to where i live now, somewhere that makes some semblance of sense,  but i’m slowly working on it. the only place i really go is the gym, and everyone leaves you alone there. best place ever. i guess i’m a model introvert who can speak to people easily, but prefers peace. not that i get any with twins. especially now that one of them talks. it’s so fucking cute.

anyway, i was getting at admitting that i am nervous as fuck to go to this book release event that’s coming up. the other book i’m in, well, that my poem is in, has a release event. other poets are reading their work live. i already told them i won’t be doing that, but will be very, very happily attending. by happily i mean anxiously, because it’s going to be quite a crowd. so back to the excerpt.

‘let’s kill her’ is a short story about a murder that takes place halloween morning, and is avenged on halloween night.

Continue reading “i somehow forgot to mention.”

a virgo unsurprisingly complaining, a link to ‘across lots’ & an excerpt from “let’s kill her.”

so my life has been insane. how fitting, since i am too. or at least that’s what they say.
has been? is. currently and always. in some ways and in many.
i have an urge to pour out an intensely personal blog post, but i’m too exhausted or afraid. i live far too much in my own mind, and although typing makes it easier to get it all out, lately it’s hard for me to talk about anything.
but hey, remember how i’ve mentioned that i was working on another short horror story for an indie anthology? finished and submitted. we’ll see what happens.
speaking of anthologies, i’m going to be receiving my physical copy of “the mountain pass”, the other indie anthology i wrote ‘across lots’ for sometime soon. it’s available, along with the sample, on the publishers website and on amazon kindle. my story is actually the first one in the book, so you can read most of it in the sample on their website, but if you want to read the entire thing (my story, not the whole book), go to the sample on amazon. 😉 there’s a little bit of the second story in there as well from another writer. i can’t wait to read all the other stories in it.
i’ll be working on my own novel, which i will painstakingly attempt to publish at a bigger house, and self-publishing my poetry book onward. any poem i write for the book will be put on my blog or at sudden denouement anyway. the book isn’t intended to be all original work.
maybe i’ll put together a few other stories for indie places if i have time.
i still need to smash the remaining entries of the horseman into one post… soon.
without further ado, here’s an excerpt of what i’ve sent to an anthology call asking for stories taking place on halloween, in the same city (salem) in different decades. i chose 1973. a few years after the manson murders.

let’s kill her

Continue reading “a virgo unsurprisingly complaining, a link to ‘across lots’ & an excerpt from “let’s kill her.””